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Chapter 4. Windows XP Applications and T... > File and Settings Transfer Wizard

File and Settings Transfer Wizard \windows\system32\usmt\migwiz.exe

Helps you transfer files and settings from one computer to another.

To Open

Start Programs Accessories System Tools File and Settings Transfer Wizard

Command Prompt \windows\system32\usmt\migwiz


The File and Settings Transfer Wizard is a step-by-step guide that walks you through the process of transferring your personal documents, contents of your Favorites folder, Internet Explorer and Outlook Express settings, Desktop and display preferences, dial-up connections, and other settings from one computer to another (see Figure 4-33). The wizard is intended to assist the migration of these files and settings from an “old” computer to a “new” computer, but could be used to duplicate a configuration across several computers just as easily, or even to assist you in upgrading your hard disk.

Figure 4-33. The File and Settings Transfer Wizard helps you migrate your personal documents and preferences to a new computer

The first question the wizard asks is whether the computer being used is the “new computer” (the machine to receive the files and settings) or the “old computer” (the machine on which the files and settings are currently stored). Although you can begin the process from either computer, it makes more sense to start off from the old computer (unless the old computer is not running Windows XP).

If you choose “Old Computer,” the next step is a choice between the following:

Direct cable

A direct cable connection uses a cable, commonly known as a null modem cable or LapLink cable, to connect two computers for the purpose of the transfer of data. Although it’s much cheaper to set up than a network, the speed is glacial by comparison.

Home or small office network

This option uses a Microsoft Windows peer-to-peer network to transfer data between the two machines. Note that this choice may be disabled if another Windows XP system is not found on the network or if the network does not have all the required protocols installed. If this option is unavailable, you can still utilize your network using “Other,” below.

removable mediaFloppy drive or other

If you have a zip drive, writable CD drive, writable DVD drive, removable hard disk, or some other removable cartridge drive, the wizard will place the necessary files on the media for later use on the new machine. Note that either the target (new) computer must also have the same drive or you’ll need to transfer the drive to the new system.


Use this option to simply specify a path in which to place the files. This can be a network path, a path to a removable drive, or a folder on your hard disk.

If you choose “New Computer,” the next step is a choice between the following:

I want to create a Wizard Disk

Select this option to use your floppy drive to transfer the wizard program to the old computer, which is useful if the old computer is running earlier version of Windows. The wizard works on Windows 95/98/Me, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, and Windows XP.

I already have a Wizard disk

This option simply quits the wizard and instructs you to use the wizard disk you already have on the old computer.

I’ll use the wizard from the Windows XP CD

This option also quits the wizard and instructs you how to use the wizard located on the Windows XP installation CD on the old computer.

I don’t need the Wizard disk

This is the only option of the four on this page that is used if you’ve already run the wizard on the old computer, as it will simply prompt you to locate the files and settings that have been packaged by the wizard.

Once you’ve chosen an option, follow the prompts on the screen to complete the process.


  • Naturally, you can simply use Explorer and an active network connection or removable drive to transfer the files manually. Furthermore, using carefully selected registry patches, you can transfer many Windows settings and files from one machine to another. While this wizard will make the migration of documents, and especially settings, pretty easy, it may not end up being as flexible or complete as a manual migration.

  • Another option is to use Backup (discussed earlier in this chapter) to transfer some or all of your files from one system to another.

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